C of I group enjoys Women in Physics Conference

A group of College of Idaho students led by Professor Katie Devine recently attended the Rocky Mountain section meeting of the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics in Salt Lake City. The conference included colleges and universities from throughout the Intermountain West – including the nearby University of Utah and BYU – but the C of I had the largest student group of any school in attendance with nine participants.

Chelsea Walther, Zamokuhle Motsa, Tierra Candelaria, Tasha Sitz, Cassiemarie Low, Pragna Naidoo, Shelby Elkins, Angelica Price and Johanna Mori represented the C of I at the conference. The students had opportunities to tour research labs, attend guest lectures by professional female physicists and participate in a student research poster session as well as career development workshops.

“It was incredibly exciting to see our students interact with a group of peers and professional physicists who exposed students to a range of career possibilities,” Devine said. “As a woman in physics, my favorite part of the conference was seeing a whole room of female physics students and professionals together, encouraging and supporting each other.”

Elkins, a junior math-physics major, said the conference was an enjoyable and meaningful learning experience for the C of I group.

“I absolutely loved the conference, especially with this particular group of C of I women,” Elkins said. “It worked in all the ways it was meant to – as a community-building opportunity, a place to network and speak with peers and mentors, and to spread knowledge and advice about being a woman in physics – and also doubled as a taste of what life is like at a larger school. It was fun to be on a bigger campus, but it really made us appreciate the personality and size of our own College.”

Candelaria, also a junior majoring in math-physics, had the opportunity to present her own physics research – conducted last summer in collaboration with Devine – for the first time at the conference.

“It was a great experience,” Candelaria said. “It was a welcoming environment and we learned about some cutting-edge research being conducted right now. I am really glad I went and had the opportunity to participate.”

To learn more about the conference, please visit